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Alvarez vs. Hatton: Saul Alvarez defeats Matthew Hatton by unanimous decision

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It was entertaining. It was, at times, brutal. But in the end there was no doubt who was the better boxer.

Saul Alvarez used his size and confident style to win a unanimous decision over a game Matthew Hatton to win the WBC super lightweight title at Honda Center.

The fight, broadcast nationally on HBO, was worth the admission price on Saturday night as both fighters seemed to give most of what they had.

All three judges scored it 119-108.

Alvarez entered the match as the fighter with the biggest upside in the Golden Boy camp, having been unbeaten in 36 fights. The partisan, heavily Latino crowd did little to hide their adoration, feeling the need to get a win after Daniel Ponce de Leon lost a unanimous decision to Adrien Broner in the fight preceding the  main event.

For Hatton it was clearly going to be a fatter payday after Alvarez failed to make weight. There was never any doubt the fight would be staged. Instead, these kind of transgressions can be forgiven with money and Hatton was more than obliged to enter the ring.

Hatton came out swinging -- but not necessarily connecting -- in the opening round. Alvarez was content to stay back.

Alvarez bloodied Hatton’s nose in the second round as the fighter from Manchester, England, had to be wondering if the extra money was worth the potential beating he might take.

Hatton wasn’t defenseless, managing to get a few flurries off but he was clearly on the receiving end of meaningful punches more than giving them.

Alvarez was at his best when he had Hatton on the ropes, and in the fourth round he opened a cut on Hatton's left eye. The blood smeared over the left side of his face, providing a picture that excited the crowd.

The action slowed near the middle of the fight as Hatton’s corner had to work on their fighter’s eye after each round.

Things got interesting in the seventh round when Alvarez hit Hatton well after the break. Hatton walked a few steps and then went down on one knee. Referee Lou Moret signaled a one-point deduction, which only seemed to infuriate Alvarez. He unleashed some powerful flurries but Hatton wouldn’t back down. With about 45 seconds left in the round, the pair was going toe to toe with little abandon to stop the other’s punches.

By the eighth round, Hatton had gained the respect of the crowd, showing he knew how to take a punch and then was able to back it up with mini-flurries of his own. But it was clear that Alvarez’s size and patient style was winning the fight.

In the 10th round Alvarez once again hit Hatton after the break. This time Hatton staggered into the ropes and went down to one knee. Moret, however, chose not to deduct a point.

Alvarez might have easily won the fight, much to the delight of the crowd, but many were talking about Hatton’s ability to absorb punishment. Not what you necessarily want to be remembered for but at least it was something.

Alvarez, meanwhile, will be talked about for what lies ahead.

--John Cherwa

Photo: Saul Alvarez lands a straight right to the head of Matthew Hatton during the ninth round of their WBC super-welterweight title fight Saturday night at Honda Center. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

 
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